A Sussex Police inspector had sex with three vulnerable women he had met in the course of his duties, a standards hearing was told this morning.
Inspector Tony Lumb is accused of developing sexual relationships with three women – two of them victims of crime – that he met in the course of his policing work.
He is also accused of going to two girlfriend’s houses – one also a serving police officer – while he was on duty.
The first woman was a witness to an attempted arson which Inspector Lumb investigated in 2002. When he met her, she was suffering from ME, had a carer, and was extremely thin, making it clear she was vulnerable.
Counsel for Sussex Police, James Berry said that after taking her statement, he visited her house several times, and had sex with her.
A decade later, she approached him asking advice on the murder of her friend which had happened abroad.
Mr Berry said he met her in Wild Park and gave her £30 – which Sussex Police says was an attempt to keep her on side given their inappropriate sexual relationship 10 years previously.
The second woman, Nicola Brookes who has waived her anonymity. She met Inspector Lumb when he was investigating a disabled hate crime against her in 2012.
She was not satisfied with how Sussex Police and others were dealing with the internet abuse she had been subjected to, and Inspector Lumb was copied into her emails of complaint.
He offered to help, and one night in 2015 he went round to her house after the pub and as he left, he hugged her.
He visited her again to discuss her case in July and September the following year, during which time she had told him she had feelings for him and he replied to say he had a soft spot for her.
On the fourth visit, he asked to go to her bedroom, and on the last visit, which took place in December, the pair had sex.
By this time, Mr Berry said, there was no longer any pretence that his visits had any policing purpose.
Inspector Lumb met the third woman in 2012 when he was investigating a caution she had been given in connection to a neighbour dispute which she wanted lifted.
He called her a sexy beautiful woman and kissed her, then later went to her home and had sex with her.
When contact abruptly ceased some time later, the woman “felt used”, Mr Berry said.
Mr Berry said that the “modus operandi” in these three cases is similar, and clearly breaches police standards.
Mr Berry said there were two occasions where Inspector Lumb went to the house of the fourth woman – also a serving police officer with whom he was in a relationship – while on duty in 2016. The first time they kissed, and the second time they had sex.
And finally, he recounted three times where Inspector Lumb had visited the house of the fifth woman, who had met in a pub, in April and June 2016.
The first time they kissed, the second he partially undressed her and the third they had sex.
Inspector Lumb was arrested in March 2017 over claims of misconduct in public office. He was also suspended by Sussex Police while the Independent Police and Crime Commission investigated.
The CPS dropped the case in 2018, but the IPCC investigation continued.
Inspector Lumb is not appearing at the one-day hearing, but is represented by Inspector Matt Webb, chair of the Sussex Police Federation.
Inspector Webb said that Inspector Lumb meant no disrespect by his non-attendance, but was mindful of the likely outcome.
Although he has said he does not accept any of the charges, he is not challenging the evidence against him.
The allegations are that Inspector Lumb’s conduct amounts to a breach of standards of professional behaviour in respect of
– Authority, respect and courtesy
– Duties and responsibilities
– Discreditable conduct
The hearing continues.
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